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Category Archives: Bread

Beer Bread

Oscar honey, this recipe’s for you.

In my family, it is pretty standard practice to slice up a fresh loaf of beer bread into large, chunky squares, pile them all up in a bowl with a nice tub of spinach dip on the side and watch it disappear rapidly at the beginning of any party or gathering. It’s almost a game really, the host makes up the bread, starts slicing it, and immedietly people start sneaking their fingers in there to steal a piece or two before the dish is even served up.

Now here’s the real trick to this tradition – this beer bread is very commonly made from a purchased bag of premade mix, all you have to do is add a can of beer to the mix, pop it in the oven, and in an hour you’ll have a fresh loaf! It’s great, it’s ultra easy, it’s delicious…but one thing it’s NOT is budget friendly! One loaf can run you six dollars! I have a copycat recipe that uses ingredients most people have on hand at home, and it tastes even better than the premade mix!

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Ingredients:
3 cups Flour
1/3 cup Sugar
1 TBSP Baking Powder
1/2 tsp Salt1 can (or bottle) beer
3 TBSP butter, melted
3/4 tsp Salt, Kosher or Sea salt preferably

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 350 and spray a bread pan with Pam Spray.
2. Mix dry ingredients and the first 1/2 tsp of salt together in a large bowl. Add beer bread and mix until combined (dough will be sticky).
3. Pour dough into the greased bread pan and pour the melted butter over the top. Sprinkle the 3/4 tsp of Kosher or Sea salt over the top of the melted butter.
4. Bake at 350 for 50-60 minutes until the top of the bread is golden brown.
5. You can serve warm if desired. Enjoy!

 

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Banana Bread

Banana bread is such an easy bread to make. It’s basically just a wet mix that you bake right up – there’s none of that kneading, or rising, or other cumbersome steps you go through on a typical bread. Plus it’s a great way to use up some old bananas – – – not to mention you get the benefit of making your house smell amazing and making all of your neighbors jealous when they realize where the smell is coming from!

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This is another recipe I use on my bread machine. I’m not sure how to convert it if you don’t have a bread machine, and I’m sure you could easily make this in your oven with a quick mix of the ingredients and then a bake in the oven, I just don’t know the actual times and temperature. I got this recipe almost exactly from the Cuisinart Recipe Booklet that came with my bread machine – this isn’t one of my own inventions, but I wanted to share the recipe with you in case you didn’t have the luxury of having such a handy book come with your bread machine.

The ingredient quantities for this loaf will make a Medium sized loaf, or a 1.5 pounder. I actually like to pull this particular bread out of the machine a few minutes before the timer goes off because I find that it burns very easily and I don’t care for a crispy crust on my banana breads.

Banana Bread
Ingredients:
(Place ingredients into bread machine in this order:)
1/3 cup + 1 TBSP Buttermilk, 80-90 degrees Fahrenheit  (forget to get buttermilk? simply pour add 1 TBSP vinegar to milk and let it set for 10 minutes!)
1/2 cup Unsalted Butter, 1/2 inch pieces at room temp
2 Eggs, large, at room temp
1 tsp Vanilla Extract
1 1/4 cup Mashed Bananas (approx 3 medium bananas)
3/4 tsp Salt
1 cup Granulated Sugar
2 cups All Purpose Flour
3/4 tsp Baking Powder
1 tsp Baking Soda

Directions:
1. Spray your bread pan and kneading paddle with Pam Spray or similar.
2. Place ingredients, in order listed, in greased bread pan.
3. Place in bread machine and select Quick Bread/Cake option and Medium loaf or 1/5lb loaf for size. I like to cook my banana bread on the ‘light’ crust cycle and take it out a few minutes early like I said above, but you can cook to taste.

 

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Herb Focaccia Bread

Now I know everybody thinks their own kid is the cutest kid ever – but I have to admit mine definitely have their moments where I just KNOW mine have just mastered the art of distracting me with their cuteness.

When she was only two years old, my daughter had this habit of trying to distract me from putting her down for her nap. She would lay down in her bed and holler out to me that she needed a specific toy or blanket or whatever nonsense that she thought would work at the time. And then she had the brilliant idea to distract me with food (because even my children know my brain is always churning in the background and thinking of menu plans or what new foods I can get the kids to eat). What this all ended up in, was a three week stint where my two year old would be bellowing out that she wants to get out of bed so she could go in the kitchen and help mommy make some “forgotcha bread” for daddy because he really likes it for a dinner treat.

Thus “Forgotcha Bread” was invented in our house and it makes a pretty regular appearance. Besides, it’s totally cute to see my kids and my husband all crowd around trying to dip their ‘forgotcha bread’ into a tiny shared bowl of olive oil and Parmesan cheese. It’s one of those happy family bickering, bantering, sharing type moments at the table that really warm my heart.

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This recipe is a bread machine recipe. I’m not sure how to convert it if you don’t have a bread machine. I actually got this recipe almost exactly from the Cuisinart Recipe Booklet that came with my bread machine – this isn’t one of my own inventions this time around. I altered some of the spices/quantities that flavor the bread and the topping, but the bread recipe is theirs.

(The quantities I list is for a small, one pound loaf. It is enough to feed my family of two adults and two young kids with some leftovers for the next day.)

Ingredients:
(Place ingredients into bread machine in this order:)
3/4 cup Water 80-90 degrees
1 1/2 TBSP EVOO
1/2 tsp Garlic Powder
1/4 tsp Onion Powder
1/2 tsp Oregano
1/4 tsp Parsley
1 tsp Salt
2 1/8 cup Bread Flour
1 tsp Yeast, Active Dry or Bread Machine

For the topping you will need:
1/4 cup Parmesan Cheese
1/2 tsp Sea Salt or Kosher Salt
1/4 tsp Basil
1/4 tsp Garlic Powder

Directions.
1. Place ingredients into Bread machine in above order. Set bread type to Dough/Pizza Dough and the size to Small/1 LB size. Press start. (Machine will run for about 1 hour 25 minutes.)
2. When the bread machine is done, remove the dough from the bin and punch to deflate. Let rest for 10 minutes.
3. Brush a cookie sheet with Extra Virgin Olive Oil and sprinkle with a little cornmeal. After dough has rested, roll out on a lightly floured surface to approximately 8″ x 6″ and place it upon the prepared pan. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let it rise in a warm place until doubled in size, approximately 40-50 minutes.
4. Preheat oven to 450 F and with oiled fingers, press indentations about one inch apart and 1/2 inch deep all over the surface of the dough (see picture below).

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Drizzle the dough with some EVOO and sprinkle with teh kosher salt, Parmesan cheese, and herbs (it will collect in the little divots you made with your fingers a bit). Place the dough in your preheated oven and bake until deep golden brown and puffed up with a crispy crust – approximately 10-15 minutes.
5. Let the bread cool on a cooling rack and then slice up and serve with some olive oil and Parmesan cheese for dipping. Enjoy!

 
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Posted by on April 13, 2013 in Bread, Easy, Party Foods, Sides

 

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Maple Cinnamon Bread (with either cream cheese or hard icing)

Yesterday was the Superbowl and I wanted to bring something to the party. Something a little different from the typical football party food. So I settled on this Maple Cinnamon Bread. Unfortunately, while the bread was in the oven, I realized that I didn’t have any cream cheese to make the icing the way I wanted, so I last minute Googled…and came up with a totally acceptable replacement of hard icing! Now, the cream cheese frosting REALLY compliments the bread, so given the option, that’s the one you need to choose. Do you know what Cinnabon is? If you do, then choose this frosting! When in a jam though, you can use the back up icing and it comes out pretty well too. I’ll put both in here either way (in case I need them for future reference too!)

Maple Cinnamon Bread

(Oh, and can I throw in an extra special Thank You here too? I forgot to take a picture of the bread before the Superbowl party and I left the leftovers at the party for whomever wanted them to take home. An awesome Aunt of mine took a picture of her leftover Maple Cinnamon Bread for me to use as this picture!! Thank you Awesome Aunt!)

Ok so I’ll admit off the bat this recipe is a bit more involved than my typical recipe. You need a ‘wet bowl’, a ‘dry bowl’, another cinnamon/butter bowl, and you also need to brown your butter, AND still make your icing!

Maple Cinnamon Bread (with two icings to choose from!)

2 1/4 cup flour
1 cup pure maple syrup (not pancake syrup, actual maple syrup)
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup buttermilk (forget to get buttermilk? simply pour add 1 TBSP vinegar to milk and let it set for 10 minutes!)
1/4 cup butter –  you’ll be browning this butter
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract

1/4 cup cold butter – cubed
2 tsp cinnamon

1. First off, grab that first 1/4 cup of butter and brown it off. This is super easy, just make sure you pay attention to it or you’ll quickly go from browned butter to burnt butter. Slice the 1/4 cup into patties so it browns evenly and toss the butter into a warmed pan. Melt the butter – it will start to foam lightly, and then it will stop foaming. This is when we need to pay attention to it. You’ll see a light brown color start to form on the bottom and work it’s way through the butter. As soon as it starts to smell nutty, remove the butter from the heat and allow it to cool. It’s now ‘browned’.
2. preheat your oven to 350
3. In a large mixing bowl, mix your dry ingredients: flour, baking powder, baking soda, 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon, and salt.
4. In another bow, mix together your wet ingredients: maple syrup, buttermilk, and eggs. Slowly whisk in your browned butter. Add your wet ingredients to the dry ingredient bowl.
5. Add the vanilla extract to the combined bowl.
6. Now, in another bowl, take your 1/4 cup cold cubed butter and your 2tsp cinnamon and smoosh it together with your fork until it combines and starts to form little balls. Fold it into the mix of the large combined bowl.
7. Grease a bread pan and pour the batter in. Bake for about 45 minutes.
8. Let it cool while you ponder your icing choices :-)

This is the Cream Cheese Icing I recommend:
1/4 cup cream cheese – room temperature
1/4 cup confectioners sugar
1 tbsp half & half

1. First and only step – whisk the above ingredients together until you get a nice silky icing type consistency. Pour the icing into a sandwich bag or a large freezer bag and then smoosh it all down into one corner. Snip off the tip of the bag to make a piping bag and ice away! Decorate the bread or just put large swishes over, whatever you like!

Now, this is the icing I quickly eHow’d yesterday without the cream cheese – it came out well!

3 egg whites
4 cups confectioner’s sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract

1. Add the vanilla to the egg whites and whisk until frothy.
2. Add the sugar and mix with an electric mixer on medium for approx 8 minutes until shiny and stiff.

That’s it! Ice your bread any way you like, and eat it up! Enjoy, it’s delicious!

 
 

Homemade Croutons

We bake our own fresh bread in our house almost every day. Every now and then we get a leftover edge that is either starting to stale or just simply gets left behind in favor of the new, warm, fresh loaf that just came out of the oven. So the question is, what to do with the ‘nubs’?!  (And what is it about the word ‘nub’ that always makes me want to giggle?? Am I the only one?)

On the rare occasion that we have an actual leftover slice or two of bread, we turn it into french toast or a mini bread pudding. For the edge nubs though, it’s croutons all the way! Croutons are so remarkably simple to make up fresh, it’s almost silly to ever buy them at the store unless you plan on going through massive quantities all at once!

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I like to make up my croutons as I need them, I can’t seem to get them to store too awfully well (though I would LOVE any suggestions on that front…). Today I wanted a salad for lunch so I sliced up a leftover stale nub from Saturday’s bread into little hunks and then mixed up my seasonings. I eyeball the seasonings because I make such a small quantity, but no matter how much you make at a time, the ratios should generally reflect this mix:

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Homemade Croutons

Leftover or staled bread. (Fresh homemade bread, or store-bought works too. You would do MUCH better with a ‘bakery’ style bread than a ‘Wonder bread’ type though, there’s too much fluff and preservatives in the ‘Wonder’ type variety to get the proper result.)
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp fresh ground black pepper
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/8 tsp chili powder
1/2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

(this quantity of seasoning will make enough croutons for approx 3 salads)

1. If you have a toaster oven, this is the perfect time to use it! If you’re using a conventional oven, get that sucker preheating up to around 300 degrees.
2. Add all your spices to a small bowl that is large enough to hold whatever quantity of bread you are trying to crouton-ize  ( ;-) ). Drizzle in the EVOO and with your fingers mix it all together so you get a sandy, gritty type paste.
3. Add in the cut up stale bread and again with your hands, toss the bread with the paste, make sure to wipe it off the bottom of the bowl and let the bread absorb the oil and get the seasonings pretty evenly distributed over all the bread pieces.
4. Line a baking sheet with foil (or the little tray that comes with the toaster oven) and toss your seasoned bread on. Let it cook in the oven for roughly 10 minutes, making sure to mix it up a bit half way so the croutons toast evenly on all sides. You’ll have to keep an eye on them, depending on how big your pieces are, how stale the bread is, and how heavily oiled they are – it may cook a little faster or slower. So use your judgement, not the clock!

While my croutons are baking up, I like to start preparing my salad and getting everything ready. Then when the croutons are done I just pop them in the bowl, dress the salad, and dig right in! Yum!

 
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Posted by on January 28, 2013 in Bread, Easy, Healthy, Homemade, Quick & Easy, Sides

 
 
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